The essential guide to transit at Dubai International Airport


Transiting through any airport can be hectic, with travelers constantly wondering where they should go before their next flight. On a recent trip to Dubai International Airport (DXB), I had the chance to try out the airport transit facilities. Here’s a guide for your next trip through the Middle East superhub.

Where are my bags?

The first step to transiting through Dubai Airport is to check your checked baggage. If you are flying with only one airline, such as Emirates, flydubai or their partners, you will see your baggage at the final destination. However, if you are booked on two different flights, you will need to check your baggage for the next flight.

This is where Dubai Airport comes in handy. At Terminal 1, used by most airlines, the Marhaba service will transfer your baggage for a fee from the first flight to the next. Follow the signs for Flight Connections and proceed to the counters, where agents will scan your baggage tag to locate your suitcase.

The Terminal 1 flight connection area is important for receiving your new boarding pass and transfer baggage. Photo: Pranjal Pandé | single flight

To check if your flight is eligible, you can check the Marahaba website and even pre-book the service for around $55. Some airlines, such as flyadeal, don’t allow passengers to log in themselves, so checking ahead is an important step.

Boarding card

Once you’ve managed to move your luggage or are traveling light, like I was last week, the Flight Connections area also hosts airline counters to print your boarding pass and check documents. These usually open three hours in advance, but some airlines like IndiGo seemed to have a nearly constant presence due to the number of departures. So if you arrive early, no need to panic that your airline counter is not open, just ask one of the agents what time they will be available.

Terminal 3 is fully operated by Emirates, so most passengers tend to have all their boarding passes in advance. Terminals 1 and 2 offer transfer counters for international airlines and flydubai/regional carriers respectively.

IndiGo and other Indian airlines are well equipped for transferring passengers from international destinations. Photo: Getty Images

The British Airways office opened exactly three hours before departure and I had no problem printing my boarding pass before departure at 01:05. Once you have your boarding pass, the transit process is complete and you can proceed to the gate like everyone else at the airport.

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Smooth experience

In my experience last week, the transfer to Dubai Airport Terminal 1 was smooth, with staff generally helpful but demanding in detail. The security check before entering was relatively empty in the evening, but the terminal was packed with passengers. Mobile boarding passes make it easy, not that you have to show a boarding pass to transit DXB in the first place.

Have you ever transited through Dubai airport? Tell us about your experience and tips in the comments!

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